Vietnam Discovery

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  • No Hidden Fees
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12 Days
Availability : Flexible Dates
Hanoi, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam
Min Age : 10+

Where do we start with this amazing trip through Vietnam! From visiting traditional Hanoi to biking through the ancient villages that make up Mai Chau Valley to the spectacular vistas of Van Long Nature Reserve to staying on a luxury small junk boat to taking the night train to Hue to a cooking class, this trip provides the opportunity to experience Vietnam like a local – and at a great value!


In addition to staying at Green Lotus eco-certified hotels (where available), the company strives to:

  • Explore the cities in a different way, under the locals’ view, and in an environmentally conscious manner (i.e. seeking alternative means of transportation that are eco-friendly and help cut down on carbon emissions (i.e. using an electric car, bikes, cyclos, boat rowings and walking).
  • Support the local communities by providing jobs for the local people. This helps the local people have a stable life and income. (i.e having meals at the local house(s), staying Mai Chau Eco Lodge, visiting Reaching Out Tea House (a workshop supports disabled people).
  • Contribute to the development and conservation the traditional crafts in Vietnam. Through the tourism promotion, the company supports local authorities to raise the local consciousness on preserving cultural and traditional values as well as promoting the typical handicraft works to clients from around the world.
  • Provide visitors the opportunity to admire the biodiversity with thousands of flora and fauna in Vietnam. They support and promote community participation in terms of conservation and the sustainable use of biological resources to maintain the wetland ecosystem (visiting Van Long Nature Reserve, Halong Bay, and Mangrove Forest in Hoi An).

Day 1Hanoi Arrival

Upon your arrival, you are welcomed by a local guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Your room is available from 14:00 onward. After a short rest, you will be transferred to the Old Quarter for a 60-minute tour of the colonial city’s traditional “36 streets of 36 wares” in the Old Quarter and around the Hoan Kiem lake and district by electric car. The remainder of day is free at your leisure. Meals on your own and overnight at hotel.

Day 2Hanoi Sightseeing

Full day tour of Vietnam’s capital city, including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Monday and Friday so outside visit will be arranged), the traditional stilt house and the revered One-Pillar Pagoda. After that, you will Vietnam’s first university, the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Ethnology Museum (closed on Monday) where you can discover the diversity of Vietnam’s many ethnic groups. In the middle of this afternoon, you will return to the Old Quarter for a street food venture. You will be taken to see some of the markets and establishments that are frequented by the Vietnamese locals as well as drive to a nearby local market to learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine as well as watch the buying and selling rituals of a Vietnamese market. Your guide will give an introduction to some of the vendors, explain the ingredients for sale and assist you with purchasing items to take home. You will also have the chance to enjoy typical Vietnamese Cà Phê (coffee) or Trà (tea) while an overview of Vietnam food scene is delivered by your guide. After that, drive (or walk) to Truc Bach lake for a snack of Phở Cuốn, a grilled beef and rice noodle roll with fresh herbs, along with several other favorite local snacks. Finally, you will round off your venture at one of Hanoi’s bún chả establishments, to enjoy traditional grilled pork and rice vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs, greens and crispy spring rolls (nem rán) like true Hanoians. Back to hotel for relaxation. Meals on your own. Overnight at hotel.

Day 3Hanoi - Ancient Village - Mai Chau Valley

In the morning, you will depart to the west for the 60km trip to Duong Lam village – about 2 hours driving. Upon arrival, you will take a bike ride to visit local houses and the communal house dating back to 17th century – the bike ride will give you an impression of coming back to the ancient times.

You will meet with local villagers and visit a workshop for self-made soya sauce. After lunch at a local house, you will continue on a picturesque road through mountains and valleys to Mai Chau town (a journey of about 3 hours). Mai Chau is located in a beautiful valley, and it has been populated by the White Thai tribe for several centuries. The Thais are known for their harmonious community life and many lovely age-old traditions. They live on stilt houses, close to rice fields and streams. You’ll arrive in Mai Chau in the late afternoon and check into your hotel. After freshening up, you will enjoy dinner (by your own expense) and a performance by locals of ethnic minority Muong and Thai people at the lodge. Overnight at the lodge.

Day 4Mai Chau Valley

After enjoying breakfast, we then start our morning by a biking trip around the village and area. This is a good opportunity to take all the nice photos of buffalos and local people working in the fields. After your lunch break (either picnic lunch or lunch at local house), you will be transferred to Cun Pheo Village where you will start a light trek. Cun Pheo village is home of Muong People and about 7km away. You’ll pay a visit to Cun Pheo village and follow the big trail to Van village of Thai people. Then, you will go through the village, passing rice fields, and trek on the hillside. Dinner on your own and overnight at the lodge.

Day 5 Mai Chau Valley - Ninh Binh - Van Long Nature Reserve

After breakfast, we’ll drive from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh (150 km – 5 hour drive). Plains, sugar fields, and waterfalls are found along the way. This trip offers us one of the most picturesque countryside landscapes of Vietnam. You will arrive in Nho Quan (Ninh Binh) in the early afternoon. Upon arrival at a typical local house, we take a rest here to enjoy a special local lunch prepared by the host family.

This is a great opportunity to join the real life of Vietnam. After lunch time and some relaxation, you will board on a traditional sampan rowing boat to get deeper into the Van Long Nature Reserve to observe the Ardeola bacchus, Egretta garzetta… which are generally called as white storks by locals… Van Long is a great place to observe migrating raptors (especially during spring and autumn) and it is also the only known breeding site for the magnificent Bonelli’s Eagle in Vietnam. In the late afternoon, check in to your hotel. Dinner on your own and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6Ninh Binh - Halong Bay

We leave Ninh Binh this morning and head straight to Halong Bay, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site with its 3,000 islands of towering limestone dotting the bay and Gulf of Tonkin (180km – 3.5-4 hour driving). After arriving at noon, you will board a beautiful boat for an overnight cruise on Halong Bay with an excellent menu of fresh seafood. Lunch and dinner are served on the boat. Overnight on board.

Day 7Halong Bay - Hanoi - Night train to Hue

Wake up early in the morning to enjoy aquamarine water of the bay at its best. After a tea break, the boat continues to cruise quietly through spectacular limestone formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy this more isolated bay’s spectacular and unique islands. Return to Halong harbor and after brunch, you’ll transfer directly to Hanoi Airport passing vast expanses of rice fields in the Red river delta.

We’ll stop en route to visit a pottery village. This enchanting and unusual experience will reveal a fascinating side of Vietnam: escape time wandering through the paved streets along the Cau River and practicing pottery, or visiting the workshops of avant-garde artists, or those of families whose know-how has been passed from generation to generation. After visiting Phu Lang, you’ll transfer with the guide to Hanoi railway station for the train SE1 Hanoi – Hue (19:30 – 08:56 +1). Meals on your own. Overnight on the train in an air-conditioned cabin with 4 soft sleeper berths. (Guide won’t join with you on the train)..

Day 8 Hue City

Upon your arrival in Hue City, you’ll be welcomed by a local guide and transfer to a nice restaurant where you have your breakfast. After a short rest, we’ll visit the majestic Imperial Citadel of Hue. You’ll enjoy the faded elegance of Hue as you visit the old city by bicycle or cyclo (pedicab). Back to your hotel for check-in and enjoy the remainder of the day free at your leisure. Meals on your own. Overnight at hotel.

Day 9Hue Surroundings

The morning is devoted to visiting the handicraft villages in Hue. You’ll board a local boat and go down the Perfume River. After about 30 minute cruising, you’ll arrive at the village of Tien Non where you take your bike to reach the village of Thanh Tien (about 30 minutes). Thanh Tien is located along the Perfume River and is famous for its traditional handicraft production of paper flowers dating back four hundred years. You can observe the work and participate in the creation of flowers under the guidance of a craftsman.

You’ll keep on your journey with another walk of about 30 minutes to the Sinh village, which is well known as a center for paintings on wood. You’ll spend time learning more about this traditional handicraft and you will also have the opportunity to interact with the hospitable family of a local craftsman.

Afterward, you’ll return to the city center by private vehicle in the early afternoon. On arrival back to the city, you will take a tour of Tu Duc tomb, one of the most beautiful tombs in Hue. Later, you’ll visit the famous Dong Ba Market to take a glimpse at daily local’s life. The evening is free at your leisure. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10 Hue - Danang - Hoi An

In the morning, you’ll depart for Hoi An (145 km – around 3.5 hours driving) via the scenic Hai Van Pass to view one of the most beautiful panoramas in Vietnam as you look out over the central coastline. You will also stop at the quiet, white sandy beach of Lang Co.

You’ll arrive in Hoi An late in the morning and check-in at the hotel. Afterward, you’ll take a walking tour in Hoi An town, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Set out to explore the quaint cobblestone streets of the town with more than two-century-old Chinese houses. Sites include the Japanese Bridge, the Chinese Temple, and Phung Hung Chinese-style trading house. At the end of the day, you will have a memorable cup of tea or coffee at “Reaching Out Tea House” – a very special and unique ancient house where offer you not only a fabulous drinks and snack but also the soul values. Meals own your own. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 11Hoi An

This morning is devoted to discovering the different aspects of the Vietnamese cuisine. In the early morning, we venture into Hoi An market to purchase necessary ingredients for the cooking course. Accompanied by your hostess (also your chef), you’ll have the leisure time to discover all the varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, meat and fish which are sold at the market. This will give you a better understanding about the habits of Hoianien’s consumption preferences.

After visiting the market, we’ll make a short stop for a coffee (or tea) break at a local coffee shop before being taken to your kitchen where the cooking may begin. The chef will guide you how to cook some Vietnamese traditional dishes and a few associations of tastes that you can use when you are back home. Enjoy your self-prepared lunch after cooking. The meal will obviously be supplemented by other dishes prepared by your classmates on spot.

In the afternoon, we depart for a discovery around Hoi An. Embark for a boat ride to the mouth of Thu Bon river to enjoy the daily activities of fishers such as throwing fishing net and trading their products. Your boat then continues cruising for about half an hour to a fishing village. After changing to a smaller bamboo boat (a coracle) to discover a distinctive mangrove forest, you will be able to try your hand fishing crabs. Under the blurry sunlight inside the forest, you might feel a mysterious atmosphere covering this whole area. This excursion also gives you a chance to admire skilled fishermen who are working in the forest. Back to the hotel by private vehicle by late afternoon. Dinner on your own. Overnight at hotel

Day 12Hoi An - Danang - Departure

Free day at your leisure. The room is at your disposal until noon time only. At a good time, you will be transferred to the Airport for you onward flight back home or next destination. Meals on your own.

Tour Details

This tour is fully customizable and package pricing is for a minimum of 4 people. Contact us if your group is larger for special pricing or if you want to add extensions.

Price Includes

  • Accommodations
  • All Breakfasts
  • 4 Lunches and 1 Dinner
  • Local Boat Rentals
  • Cycling Activity
  • Cruise on Non-Private Junk Boat in Halong Bay
  • Airport Transfers
  • Private Vehicle Transport with A/C
  • Local Train (Hanoi-Hue) in A/C cabin with Soft Sleeper Berths (4 per cabin)
  • Entrance Fees and Sightseeing
  • Local English Speaking Guide(s)

Price Excludes

  • Airfare and Airport Taxes
  • All Other Meals
  • Gratuities
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • All Optional Excursions
  • Visa Fees

Optional Activities

  • Hanoi - Lao Cai - Sapa - Topas Eco Lodge Extension
  • Additional Trekking Options